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3... Letter to the Editor 4... Calendar 7... Great Park Moving forward 13... Going Global Locally 18... Night Life 21... Remembering Wild Rivers 26... Local Picks 29... The Village 36... Resturant Guide


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MAY 2012

the OC Great Park: Moving Foward

W

elcome to the NEW issue of Living Irvine It is rare that we step out from behind the scenes, but we are excited about this issue of Living Irvine.

Austin and I have been working hard for the past few weeks, transforming layouts into crisp, clean design that we feel is definitely worthy of your time. We have expanded the types of articles you crave and gotten rid of the fat. Whether it’s showing you what is going at Wild rivers or serving up advice on the top restaurants around town we’re dedicated to bringing you the best information possible. As always, we’ll be showcasing the stories concerning Irvine that will to keep you informed. We want it to be your go-to guide for everything Irvine—the one you think of and turn to first to guide you through life in this city. We invite you to fill up our inbox at editors@livingirvine.com. Let us know how we’re doing. What you would like to see more of…or less of. Send us pictures of you and your family or friends enjoying all the city has to offer. We’d love to see them. We’ve got a nice line-up of editorials for you here, so grab a cup of coffee and enjoy this new issue of Living Irvine.

AUSTIN

editor

PHILLIP

editor


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The Great Park Moving Foward

he Great Park board is looking at different funding options with the loss of redevelopment money looming. In addition to revenue from land leases for RV storage, use of the former Marine base runways, event parking, a green waste processing facility and for agricultural use, as well as sponsorships, donations solicited by theGreat Park Foundation, developer Heritage Fields is committed to $81 million in the next six years. The park will continue to explore public/private partnerships, and seek out other funding sources.

-MIGUEL VASCONCELLOS, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER


RVINE

8/oc Great Park Moving Forward LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRV

Great Park will move forward, board says

than 1,300 acre Great Park – has not changed, but the journey will be altered by the state’s decision to quash redevelopment agencies. “It will have a significant impact

By SAMANTHA SCHAEFER

A

on how we go about

mid uncertainty about the future

building

of a large source of funding for

the Great

the Orange County Great Park, Irvine

Park,” said

and Great Park officials will move for-

Great Park

ward on a number of fronts to ensure

CEO Mike

the park will have sufficient funding to

Ellzey of the

continue construction.

state court’s

The $1.4 billion in tax increment that

decision. “The

would have been collected over the

fact that the

course of 45 years was a key source of

journey chang-

revenue for the conversion of the for-

es doesn’t intimi-

mer El Toro into a regional park.

date or scare me

Several board and staff members

in the least....”

emphasized Thursday at the Great

Board members

Park board meeting that the destina-

differed in their opin-

tion – the construction of the more

ion of the severity of

WWW.LIVINGIRVINE.COM | MAY 2012


VINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING oc Great Park Moving Forward /

the situation, “a bump in the road” or

9IRVINE

But, it does not mean those funds are

a “veritable tsunami,” but all remained guaranteed. optimistic that the park will ultimately be constructed. The city believes it is entitled to the $1.4 billion in tax increment it

Those debts and obligations first have to be approved by an oversight board, made up of seven members of local taxing entities, as well as the State Department of Finance. The legislation provides room for disagreement, and the obligation ultimately

would

might not be recognized by the over-

have col-

sight board, said Sharon Landers, assis-

lected un-

tant city manager. It’s a possibility, but

der rede-

the city is unaware of any basis for re-

velopment.

jection, said Dan Slater, general coun-

The city is

cil for Irvine’s redevelopment agency.

obligated to

The city is also looking to Sacramento

build the park, according to an agreement with developer Heritage

for potential legislation that would save redevelopment for former military bases and patch a few of the current bill’s holes.

Fields made before

“With the tool of tax increment financ-

Gov. Jerry Brown’s an-

ing gone, the question is will there be

nouncement of his plan

another tool put in place, particularly

to scrap redevelopment in

for cities like us that are redeveloping

Jan. 2011.

closed military bases,” Landers said.

MAY 2012 | WWW.LIVINGIRVINE.COM


Many critics of

most ob-

redevelopment

ligations

agencies have

between

targeted them for abuse of tax increment, but city ofďŹ cials said reconstruction

counties and cities and their redevelopment agencies,

of a former mili-

which in Irvine’s

tary base speaks

case was a $134

to the heart of

million loan from

what rede-

the city.

velopment

A bill is in the

is meant to

works that

be: renovating

would make

and improving

those agree-

blighted ar-

ments valid if

eas. Landers said city staff members

they were made within two years of

are in communication with legislators

the plan agreement. That still would

and other cities reconstructing mili-

not apply in Irvine, but city leaders are

tary bases around the state, and will

in talks to extend that timeline to in-

look to other states to see if there are

clude agreements made within three

mechanisms that can be transplanted

years of the project agreement.

to California.

Landers emphasized, however, that

The state’s dissolution law also negates city is cognizant that the governor has

WWW.LIVINGIRVINE.COM | MAY 2012


been adamant about his opposition to ness as usual.” any legislation seeking to prevent the

In addition to revenue from land leas-

“funeral of redevelopment agencies,”

es for RV storage, use of the former

and is not overly optimistic that the so-

Marine base runways, event parking,

lution will be found in Sacramento.

a green waste processing facility and

More than 400 state redevelopment

for agricultural use, as well as sponsor-

agencies will be dissolved Feb. 1 be-

ships, donations solicited by the Great

cause of a state Supreme Court ruling

Park Foundation, developer Heritage

that upheld Gov. Jerry Brown’s propos- Fields is committed to $81 million in al to scrap the agencies and redirect

the next six years. Ellzey said the park

local funds to help balance the state

will continue to explore public/private

budget. The court’s Dec. 27 ruling

partnerships, and seek out other fund-

negated a second bill that gave cities

ing sources as well.

the option of salvaging their agencies

Near the end of last year, the devel-

by paying a portion of property tax

oper submitted a request to poten-

revenue to the state, leaving dissolu-

tially double its home construction

tion as the only course of action.

from close to 5,000 dwellings up to

In the coming weeks, staff will take a

10,700 units. This would bring the city

“surgical approach” when evaluating

$0.9 of every dollar collected in prop-

park spending, Ellzey said, and will re-

erty tax, about one-fifth of the tax

view and adjust the strategic business

increment that would have

plan created in 2009.

been received under

“We need to review what we are do-

redevelopment.

ing currently,” said Councilman Steven RedevelChoi. “I don’t think we should do busi-


12/oc Great Park Moving Forward LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IR

RVINE

opment agencies don’t increase residents’ property taxes, Landers said, but redistribute them differently under redevelopment. FivePoint Communities is expected to break ground for the first time at the end of the month, and the park’s next phase of the Western Sector construction is expected to be underway by March.


Story

By

MARY

ANNE

SHULTS


IVING IRVINE

14/going global locallyLIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVIN


NE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE going global locally /

A

15IRVINE L

s Aztec dancers

Kia Motors returned as the presenting

dressed in colorful

sponsor.

costumes adorned

What is a festival without food? Nearly

with peacock feather

50 local restaurants offered a sampling

headdresses, gold

of their tasty treats, some for as little

bangles and turquoise pranced on the as $1. The air was full of spices emitstage, the sweltering heat had almost

ting from Dandan BBQ’s Korean-Mex-

completely melted Annie Wang’s

ican mobile food truck, and no one

Chinese shaved ice into a puddle of

seemed to mind waiting in line for the

green tea, rice and red beans.

popular hot weather treats including

On Saturday, Bill Barber Park in Irvine

ice cream from Strickland’s or the ice-

transformed into a vibrant festival of

cold strawberry lemonade offered by

culture as nearly 13,000 people came

Valhalla Table. There was something to

together to reflect the city’s ethnically

please the palate of any cultural food

diverse community representing over

aficionado.

50 different cultures.

The four stages simultaneously offered

“We come every year, and always

variations of live family entertainment

learn something new here,” said

representing the multitude of diverse

Wang, who lives in Irvine. “The chil-

cultures within Irvine. At one end of

dren have so much fun, and also learn

the festival one could hear the quick

about many other different cultures.”

strings of a banjo playing American

The Irvine Global Village Festival fea-

bluegrass, while the next stage had

tured international cuisine, live enter-

a Caribbean urban street beat play-

tainment on four stages, a Kids’ Village ing on steel drums. Over at the Family with crafts and activities, a tent rep-

Stage, the Kama Children’s Chorus

resenting over 23 different world reli-

performed Korean folk songs, the chil-

gions, and exhibits by local businesses.

dren proud to wear traditional cos-


VING IRVINE

16/going global locallyLIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVIN

tumes representing their homeland’s

ture and helping hands.

history.

“We’re here to facilitate. We help the

The Kid’s Village provided interactive

kid’s pick a theme, get them paint

programs for young children including

and a brush and then tell them the

arts and crafts, games, face painting

story of Art Miles to get them started,”

and and balloon art. Visitors also had

Ballard said. “We tell them to paint

the opportunity to connect with lo-

something to represent peace as well

cal services and organizations at the

as respect towards other cultures.”

Community Partners Pavilion.

With murals representing artists’ ren-

Cal State Fullerton had an active role

dering from other parts of the world,

in this year’s festival. Members from the the murals painted at the festival will Legacies Student Organization of Ir-

be part of a world-wide project.

vine Campus volunteers were on hand Five-year-old Hiroto Iwai was self-abto help children paint murals and to

sorbed as he drew a helping hand,

encourage participation as well as to

then outlined it in circular shades of

promote the campus’ role in this year’s yellow, purple, red and green. UNESCO Art Miles Project. The program He didn’t understand the term “world uses art to educate children to advo-

peace.” Yet, he knew what it meant

cate world peace.

when other children were mean on

Legacies president Jean Ballard, 24,

the playground at his school.

a criminal justice major, handed out

When asked what he would do if he

paint brushes and paper plates with

needed to help two people make

dabs of assorted colors to young chil-

peace, he said, “I’d tell them to stop it

dren so they could become part of this because they will get hurt.” He turned international project. Murals were set

and continued to paint.

up to represent four of the 12 Art Miles

“They get excited when I tell them that

themes including fairy tales, sports, na-

kids all over the world will see this,” Bal-


NE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE going global locally / lard said.

influx of young execu-

According to the LSOIC’s tives and engineers from

17IRVINE LI

food, crafts and music,” said the Times.

volunteer recruitment

outside the U.S. came to

Today, Irvine is the “lead-

flier, over 4,000 murals

Irvine

ing 21st century global

to work

city,” according to the

have already been cre-

event’s program. With

ated. Art Miles’ goal

a city that is noted

is to have 5,280 murals painted

for having 35 lan-

internationally

guages spoken

by the end of

within their

2010. The mu-

community,

rals will then

this festival

be formed

opened the

into a modular-

eyes of many

framed mobile

as to how much we learn about our

pyramid displaying

neighbors in just one

12 miles of artwork and will float down the Nile River in Egypt. The festival is in its ninth consecutive year. It began in 2002 when the increasing diversity in the city first showed up at senior centers, according to a 2003 article in the Los Angeles Times. The

for

some

of the fast-growing businesses and they brought their paents with them. “The seniors, representing the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe, started forming small clubs and holding little festivals with

afternoon.


Jun 2

Sugarland

Saturday 7:30 PM

Jun 3

Beach Boys

Sunday 7:00 PM

Jun 22

Def Leppard

Friday 7:00 PM

Jul 19

Big Time Rush

Thursday 7:00 PM

Jul 28

Sublime

Saturday 7:00 PM

Aug 19

KISS

Tuesday 7:00 PM


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Remembering Wild Rivers: Future Site Plans? and time Line


NG IRVINE

22/oc Great Park Moving Forward LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVI

Wild Rivers final season: No new site lined up

our fingers crossed” that Wild Rivers

By John Manihon

grant the water park some time to find

W

finds a new location, and it stays affordable for a family, Foster said.The Irvine Co. declined to renew Wild Rivers’ long-term lease when it ended in 2007. Community uproar, a request by the mayor and the weak housing market prompted the developer to a new location.It’s been four years,

ild Rivers Waterpark is coming

and the developer wants to move

to the end of its 25-year run.

forward.”The Irvine Co. has always

The Irvine amusement park, which

been up front about our future plans,”

opened over the weekend for its 2011

spokeswoman Erin Freeman said. “This

season, will have to close for good

parcel of land was always meant to

Oct. 2 because its lease has not been

transition to a more a permanent use.

extended.The Irvine Co., which owns

We wish Wild Rivers continued suc-

the land, intends to build 1,700 apart-

cess and hope they find a suitable

ment homes on the property.”That’s a

place to relocate.”Irvine City Council

shame,” Wild Rivers fan Tonette Foster

zoned the Wild Rivers area for residen-

said. She and her husband Trevor have tial development when it updated brought their children to the water

the city’s master plan in 2006.”Over

park about 10 times each season for

the past several years, the Irvine Co.

the past five or six years. They usually

has worked with the city and com-

buy season passes. “We’ll be keeping

munity on a land-use plan for this area

WWW.LIVINGIRVINE.COM | MAY 2012


ING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING oc Great Park Moving Forward

/23IRVINE LIV

that would ensure the city’s long-term

tors, use a different name and have

economic health – providing more

a major educational component to

housing near major employment cent-

it, Riedel said.It’s unlikely that the park

ers,” Freeman said. The plan “will help

could reopen somewhere else in 2012

maintain balance between housing

because they don’t have a site yet,

and jobs.”Wild Rivers President Mike

Riedel said. He is hoping to reopen

Riedel said the water park has been

in 2013 at a new location, because

working to secure a site at the Or-

anything longer than a one-year gap

ange County Great Park or on land

would likely cause too much discon-

the county owns near the Great Park,

nection between the business and the

but it’s a slow process. Other South

community, he said.Verizon Wireless

Orange County locations, including

Amphitheater, which is next door to

private land, have been explored but

Wild Rivers, has a lease agreement un-

are not viable, he said.Great Park of-

til 2017 and The Irvine Co. says there

ficials have expressed openness to the

are no plans to change that.

concept, but a study has so far failed

When asked about

to yield even a specific location to ex-

the possible

plore. The county-owned land is show-

issue

ing more promise, but nothing solid has been decided, Riedel said. The new water park would have different inves-


ING IRVINE

24/oc Great Park Moving Forward LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIV

residents may have with noise from the concerts, Freeman said that based on the preliminary studies of how the sound disseminates, the developer does not believe that sound will be an issue for residents. The water

signiďŹ cantly more money in residential

park employs

devel-

about 1,100 people each summer,

opment

many of them youth. The park has

than with

more than 40 rides and attractions

a water park.

and draws 400,000 to 500,000 peo-

Wild Rivers, including its parking lot,

ple each season, depending on the

occupies about 29 acres of land. The

weather, Riedel said.The water park

water park originally subleased its land

gives a percentage of its revenue to

from drive-through animal park Lion

the Irvine Co. While neither party dis-

Country Safari, whose owner once

closed any numbers, Riedel acknowl-

threatened to demolish the water park

edged that The Irvine Co. can make

during a legal feud with The Irvine Co.

WWW.LIVINGIRVINE.COM | MAY 2012


VING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING oc Great Park Moving Forward

/25IRVINE LI

1968: Entrepreneur Harry Shuster signs

to stay on the land for 26 more years.

a 29-year lease with the Irvine Co.

Shuster obtains demolition permits for

1970: Shuster opens Lion Country

Wild Rivers and Camp Frasier.

Safari, a drive-through wild animal

1998: A judge denies Shuster’s efforts

park, which closes in 1984.

to tear down the venues, saying the

1981: Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre (now Verizon Wireless Amphitheater) subleases from Shuster 1982: Camp Frasier summer camp opens on subleased land.1986: Wild Rivers Waterpark opens 1987: The Irvine Co. sues Shuster for back rent.

Irvine Co. did not owe Lion Country Safari damages and denying Shuster’s bid to extend his lease. The Irvine Co. renews Wild Rivers’ lease from 2003 to 2007. 2007: The Irvine Co. confirms that it had not renewed nor intends to renew Wild Rivers’ lease past October 2007. 2007: Community uproar, prompted

1993: A jury grants Shuster $45 million.

the developer to grant the water park

The judgment was later overturned.

some time to find a new location.

1996: Shuster threatens to raze Irvine

2007: Great Park officials vote 7-2

Meadows, Wild Rivers Waterpark and

against giving Wild Rivers a spot at the

Camp Frasier.

park.

1997: A judge OKs demolition of Wild

2011: The Irvine Co. confirms that it will

Rivers. Lion Country Safari sues the

not extend the lease past October

Irvine Co., claiming Shuster has a right

2011.

MAY 2012 | WWW.LIVINGIRVINE.COM


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IRVINE

30/the village LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVIN

T

he design behind the Village

village’s easy proximity to local busi-

of Cypress, the latest in the

ness centers and schools, she said.

Irvine Co. village-concept

The multiple floor plans range between

communities in Irvine, is some- a 556-square-foot one-bedroom, onething between a comfortable bath apartment to a 1,197-square-

neighborhood and resort-style living,

foot two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-

company officials said.

bath town home. Monthly rent ranges

The first of 1,677 brand-new apart-

$1,478 to $2,791.

ments and town homes in four com-

Wider units with airy gathering rooms,

munities — Murano, Umbria, Veneto

outdoor patios and lots of windows

and Cadenza — debuted earlier this

are prominent features of the com-

month with 18 leases signed and other

munities’ design, which are aimed to

names added to a waiting list within

appeal to new generation of younger

the first two days.

buyers who value socializing and a

“There are so few new apartment

merging of indoor-outdoor space, said

homes being built and that, combined Kevin Baldridge, executive vice presiwith the opportunity to live somewhere dent of Irvine apartment communities, no one else has lived before, is part of

while touring a one-bedroom second-

why we’re seeing so much enthusiasm

story unit in Veneto.

here,” said Erin Freeman, spokeswom-

“The design allows the apartment to

an for the Newport Beach-based Irvine live more like a home,” he said. “PeoCo.

ple really enjoy the natural light com-

Other reasons why this collection of

ing into the rooms.”

apartment homes has garnered atten- While the one-bedroom Veneto unit tion since opening to the market Feb.

featured pale quartz countertops,

11 include diversity in price points, di-

stainless steel appliances and a simu-

versity in floor plans, amenities and the

lated hardwood floor, other units fea-


NE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE The Village /

31IRVI


RVINE

32/the village LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE ture a mix of quartz or granite, stainless steel or white appliances, and varying patterns and textures of faux wood flooring and carpeting. Surrounding the units are the newly manicured grounds, including olive tree-lined sidewalks, evergreens, eucalyptus trees, lawn parkways and sustainable landscaping. The units, as well as other buildings — which house fitness centers, clubhouses, conference rooms and leasing offices, —take inspiration from neoclassical architecture styles found in Italy and Greece, similar to other Irvine Co. properties at Pelican Hill and Fashion Island. “Walking through the community is a lot like walking through a town in Italy or Greece built 200 or 300 years ago,” said Brad Neal, vice president of architecture, planning and design. “You see the same kind of variation and style.” Each of the communities also features a junior Olympic-size saltwater pool, spa and outdoor lounge area with a


E LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE LIVING IRVINE The Village /

33IRVIN

fireplace.

the first residents to move into Caden-

“This is a comfortable kind of style

za on March 20. Residents will begin

that most people don’t expect to get

moving into Veneto on March 1.

when living in an apartment,” Neal

Construction is still ongoing in some ar-

said. “It really does feel resort-like.”

eas of the village. The last units are not expected to be ready for residents until about October. Nikkhoo is not the only resident that company officials expect to come in from another village concept. On average, between 15% and 20% of residents at Irvine Co. villages have lived at another company-owned village

It’s the combination of all these amenities that sold Michelle Nikkhoo, a resident of another village community, Woodbury Place, on a town home in Cadenza the first day the leasing office opened. “It makes you feel like you’re living in upscale home, not like renting apartment,” Nikkhoo said. “The community layout, the grounds, the business center, everything — they pay so much attention to detail.” Nikkhoo and her family will be among

previously, Baldridge said. “We looked at other places, but no, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” Nikkhoo said. “I love what the communities offer.” sarah.peters@latimes.com Twitter: @speters01


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